Florida Golf Cart Accident Kills One and Seriously Injures Another

An 83-year-old man was recently killed, and his wife critically injured in a wrong way golf cart accident in a Lee County gated community. This incident shines a spotlight on the increasing number of golf cart accidents across the Sunshine State, many of which end up resulting in serious injuries or even death.  Whether being driven on a golf course or utilized as a neighborhood mode of transportation, the number of golf carts in Florida is rising at an astonishing rate. With the most golf courses of any state in the nation at 1,050 according to the National Golf Foundation, the abundance of golf carts in Florida is understandable in simply as a result of the large number of golf courses in the state.  However, Florida also has a large number of gated and retirement communities, where many people may choose to use golf carts as their primary method of transportation even after they have stopped driving cars.  This dramatically increases the number of golf cart incidents in the state.

The Recent Lee County Accident

According to a report from ABC Action News, a husband and his wife were driving a golf cart the wrong way in a gated community in Estero on a golf cart when they encountered a pickup truck. The husband, 83, and his wife, 81, were ejected from the golf cart in the ensuing collision and both suffered life-threatening injuries.  They both were rushed by EMS to a nearby hospital, where the husband later died from his injuries.

Deputies who responded to the incident said in an accident report that the golf cart’s driver was driving northbound in the road’s southbound lane when the cart was struck head-on by a pickup truck that was traveling in the correct direction. The pickup truck’s driver told deputies he was distracted after he had dropped a cigarette.  Nevertheless, the golf cart driver was still deemed to be at fault because he was traveling on the wrong side of the road.

Golf Cart Accidents: Becoming More and More Common Nationally and in the Sunshine State

 Golf cart accidents are becoming more and more common in Florida and across the country.  According to research published in 2008 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, nearly 150,000 emergency room visits resulted from golf cart accidents between 1990 and 2006.  The statistics have only gotten worse since then, with federal Consumer Product Safety Commission statistics reflecting that golf cart accidents led to an estimated 35,000 trips to the emergency room, according to an Inside Edition report in January 2017.

This increase in the number of accidents is unsurprising, particularly in the Sunshine State.  As more people choose to age in place, golf carts are becoming an increasingly common way to get around, particularly for those who have chosen to stop driving.  This is particularly true in gated communities like the one in Lee County where this most recent accident took place.  Florida is particularly affected by this phenomenon, both with its large number of golf courses and its large population of senior citizens and retirement communities in which older individuals may live for the express purpose of residing in a place where they can get around using golf carts rather than cars. 

Laws Regulating the Golf Cart Use in Florida

 Florida law currently allows any person over the age of fourteen to drive a golf cart without having to pass a driving test or have a valid driver’s license. In addition, and more pertinent to those who may use golf carts who no longer drive, there is no vision test or other required screening for operating a golf cart in Florida. Additionally, no approved safety features are mandated on golf carts and seat belts are only required if a person is driving over twenty miles per hour.  This can make it even more likely that someone will be ejected from a golf cart in an incident like the one that recently occurred in Estero, in which both the driver and his wife were ejected from the golf cart they were riding in. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, golf cart drivers are required to obey all traffic laws that apply to motor vehicles, meaning that the driver in the recent accident in Estero was breaking the law by operating his golf cart in the wrong direction.

Contact Schwed Adams & McGinley if You Have Been Injured in a Florida Golf Cart Accident

At Schwed Adams & McGinley, our experienced personal injury attorneys have decades of legal experience representing those injured in a wide variety of scenarios, including those persons injured in golf cart accidents.  Although golf carts can be a convenient means of transportation for those who may otherwise not be able to drive or in areas like the gated community in Estero where this latest incident took place, accidents involving golf carts can and do occur with regularity, particularly in the Sunshine State.  If you have been the victim of an accident involving a golf cart in Florida, you may be entitled to substantial damages if you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence.   Therefore if you have been injured in a golf cart accident in Florida, contact our experienced personal injury attorneys today at contact@schwedlaw.comor or (877) 694-6079 today.